When you are born with congenital heart failure the odds are stacked against you. No one would expect you to be a superstar athlete, and any thoughts of being an Olympic winner are dismal. Yet, snow boarder Shaun White has proven that he can be that and more.
White was born with a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of fallot, in which the heart has four abnormalities. Within his first year of life White had undergone two open heart surgeries. It was a mere five years later that he stepped foot on a snow board and found his calling. From ages 6 to 12 White racked up snow and skate boarding trophies all over California, eventually going pro at the age of 13. Not only is White the first two time Olympic gold medalist in his sport he was also the first person to compete in the 2003 Summer and Winter X games.
After wining his second gold White was interviewed by Oprah and said of his accomplishments:
“It brings me back to all the kinds of strange times, because when my parents first got introduced to snow boarding and I started snow boarding there were no Olympics, no X games, no money or anything in the sport, they just basically knew I had a talent and went for it.” White goes on to say “I had some heart conditions when I was first born so going from that struggle to now letting me go out there and do all these things…you put a dream in front of somebody and your so young and it just seems so close and I said I can do this and I just took every step towards it.”
Beyond his heart defect what Shaun White has is tenacity, “I’ve just always had this fight since I can’t even remember,” said White in an interview with 60 Minutes.&nb